Tuesday, January 3, 2017
It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left. Hebrews 11:22(NLT)
Sometimes what passes for commitment is less than what the guy wrote on the back of his senior picture before giving it to his girlfriend:
Dear Alice, I love you more than life itself, and I promise I would walk through fire for you; I will get the moon and stars for you if you want them, and I will always be there for you until eternity passes away. P.S. If we break up I want the ring back.
Winston Churchill, who certainly had the ability to do a public speech that lasted an hour or more, gave a graduating class this advice against the backdrop of World War II’s monumental struggle; he simply stood up and told the graduates:
Never give up; never give up; NEVER GIVE UP!
And then he sat down.
This is what Joseph did for his family; take my bones with you, he said. And the meaning is clear: I have faith in you; you will have the power of God’s promises at your back and you will leave this place one day to fulfill the destiny God has laid out in the promise he gave to our family’s head, Abraham. You can take it to the bank! And carry me with you!
Promises, or vows, are meant to mean something. The promises my Mother and Father made to each other at the altar of the little Baptist church in St Albans, NY in 1943 were still standing in 2009 when Mom passed.
Notable “breakers” of promises and vows are those who hold public trust loosely, such as Bernie Madoff (the Ponzi-scheme king), Ron Lay (Enron), Richard Nixon, and countless promise-breakers in international affairs.
There may be plenty of Never Give Up in all of those public figures, but the WAY you go about that kind of exhaustive push for what you want matters at least as much as that which you want to accomplish. Every goal you set and reach-for must be measured against the loss or development of ethical and moral character you must then live with, once you’ve reached the top (or bottom) of the heap!
For Joseph, moral certitude and ethical behavior in this life, and being identified with God’s promises in the next life, crowned his bucket list. His statement to the family he was leaving behind was: carry my bones with you alongside your commitment to JHWH.
Joseph, thrown in a pit, sold into slavery by his brothers, betrayed by friends in prison and in the king’s service, kept his faith in God, and his integrity as a man of faith. Joseph was a man of the right kind of never-give-up stuff!
Whether this year started with a bang or a whimper, you will have challenges and joys throughout 2017. It would be a Joseph kind of year for you to face them all with faith, integrity, and perseverance.